Monday, December 31, 2007

A New Year and New Start

2008! I intend to bring this New Year into being with celebration and joy!!

My goal for this new year is STRETCH. Where this word will take me remains to be seen but I decided a few months ago that it would be my goal for 2008. I realize that it can be both physical and spiritual, that it might hurt a bit, and that once stretched I may not go back to what I was before. Sounds interesting doesn't it? I'm pretty excited about it.

Career-wise I am beginning the stretching already. I signed up for a Language class to finish up an endorsement for teaching second language learners. I am learning a lot myself! But more than anything else I am learning to balance again.

Physically I have set a goal to participate in a marathon in the next year. WoW! Talk about stretching!

As I envision a year of reading I see stretching again. Getting out of my comfort zone and reading more thought provoking books, trying new genres, reading more and carving out more time for reading spiritually as well is a way I really want to stretch. I want to embrace the technology of the internet and the iPod, the podcast, and the audio books for the iPod to help me stretch in an even different way. Could I really learn to blog? I still quiver when I have to add an attachment to an email!! Oh well, one stretching muscle at a time.

To close out the year 2007 I finished The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It was terrific!! What great voice the author has. The book was laugh-aloud funny and cry real tears on the same pages. I felt like I was talking to a dorky 14 year old boy who was both a nerd, a dweeb, and a reluctant warrior. The book was autobiographical and poignant. Junior (Arnold) Spirit lives on the Spokane Indian Reservation, draws comics to cope with everyday life events, and is poor, poor, poor. When Junior decides to leave the rez school he becomes an outcast among the tribe but a warrior for his family. It was a great way to end my year of reading.

In 2007 I read only 35 books. That really saddened me as I think of time lost, yet as I looked back at the books I read I realized that there were a lot of great books there. I also realized that I gave myself permission to not finish some books. Although I didn't write those books down as clunkers, I know that what I wanted to be reading was something that would contribute something to me and/or my life. It felt good to give myself permission to set a book aside. I discovered that I truly enjoy memoirs (I must just be downright nosy) and I am intrigued by readable nonfiction. I love the prose of Willa Cather, Mildred Walker, and Ivan Doig - the quiet calm. I read a lot of young adult books and am proud of it. What a booming market. I also met my goal of reading 6 Book group books this year. I even participated in an online book group and read a fantastic book that I would have never been exposed to. I found many great book recommendations at Word of Mouth on and great recommendations at Semicolon Saturday Reviews. I read/lurk on several sites and I am so glad that they share their enthusiasm for reading, their titles and their goals. I feel like I learn a lot from them. I failed to read as many classics as I wanted to, I will definitely rectify that this year. It will be another way I want to stretch.

2008 looks great from this vantage point!!